Candidate Questionnaire: Melanie Potyondy for Fort Collins District 4

Fort Collins Voter Guide Questionnaire: The city can best improve the Connexion roll-out process by doing what, in your opinion?

Melanie Potyondy: This issue requires maintenance of a delicate balance. We must keep shareholders informed as appropriate; they are investing in Connexion and are anxious to be knowledgeable about its progress. However, it is also important that we ensure a competitive roll-out of this crucial municipal utility. To close the feedback loop, I believe we should identify the key questions percolating that might be openly addressed and respond to them in an official capacity. For those questions that cannot be answered, honesty seems the best option and, if possible, projected deadlines for updates might be provided.

Citizens are concerned about Covid’s impact on education, downtown, community engagement, renters rights, workers rights, students, and local families. Where do you think the City of Fort Collins can do a better job of addressing the impact of Covid on our community?

In the immediate future, I believe our City must cooperate with the county, state, and non-profit organizations to be sure we are party to all relief options that will ensure stable housing, employment, healthcare, and fulfillment of other basic needs for our residents. We then need to use all appropriate avenues to identify those who are eligible for aid and to assist them with applying for and accessing it. Areas in which the city might be most directly involved might include facilitation of rent assistance, provision of non-congregate options for those experiencing homelessness, reinforcement of mask-wearing requirements, and continuing cooperation with the County to enable all residents can obtain a vaccine. Thereafter, the City needs to intensify actions to connect residents who exhibit lingering needs to appropriate resources for long-term recovery, such as employment coaching and retraining, community mental health options, and academic remediation opportunities.

What do you see as Fort Collins’ greatest ecological challenge in the next four years, a concern particularly strong among students and young people. How do you believe we should face it?

Climate Change. In residential/commercial development and transportation planning, we must de-incentivize driving, as through expansion of bike trails, creation of safe intersections/underpasses, and pursuit of mixed-use development. We must increase our fund of achievable housing options to decrease commuting and should also promote electric or cleaner fuel vehicles. Finally, regulating oil and gas operations and having high standards for industrial emissions are both critical.

Do you plan to vote for or against the ballot measure that calls for the City of Fort Collins to attempt to buy the Hughes Stadium property and turn it into open space?

I plan to vote for the measure.

What is your strategy for maintaining and increasing open space in Fort Collins?

I believe the City should continue to diversify and protect its stock of open space and natural areas and that continuing to expand our trail system is a value that benefits residents and lends itself to the City achieving its climate action goals. In acquiring land for natural/open areas, I believe the City should be responsive to equity concerns, to ensure all Fort Collins residents enjoy similar levels of access to high quality outside resources. The City should also be strategic in acquiring lands that preserve a buffer between our city and neighboring communities, as well as land that provides particular value, for instance as wildlife corridors.

Where will you focus your energy in regards to improving public transportation in Fort Collins, particularly in regards to helping those who commute from the suburbs, students, and cyclists?

I favor the city extending our direct bus routes (a la The Max) down key east/west corridors (e.g., West Elizabeth, Harmony) and working with Dial-a-Ride to enhance services. I am also in support of continuing to expand our bike trails, improving unsafe intersections or creating over/underpasses, and championing affordable, accessible, eco-conscious transportation options (e.g., e-bikes, scooters). Finally, I am interested in pairing with stakeholders around mass transit options down I-25.

Do you believe that Boulder serves as a good model for how Fort Collins should grow? (Yes or no)

No.

Can we mitigate the negative impacts of growth while also building up Fort Collins’ affordable housing stock — and if so, how?

On Council, I will advocate for smart planning/zoning that provides healthy and stable housing at all price points and which is optimally located for access to jobs, essential businesses, schools, and nature. I believe, in making development decisions, that redevelopment should always be considered before new development and that new development should be done thoughtfully. Ideally, any new developments we pursue will bring exceptional value to the City (i.e., not just more houses, but structures and resources that are fulfilling an identified and compelling need, and which provide marked benefits).

What is the one initiative you would most enthusiastically support that you believe would increase access to quality affordable housing in Fort Collins?

I am keenly interested in the prospect of redevelopment for affordable/achievable housing, especially in areas of the City that have easy access to business/jobs, schools, and public transportation. I am a proponent of maximizing the variety of housing options available in our city (e.g., tiny homes, apartments, duplexes/triplexes, patio/townhomes, variety of sizes of single-family homes), which may require adjustments to our current planning and zoning. With reference to new development, I believe the City should be forthright in pursuing and incentivizing construction of the types and price points of homes we are lacking, versus more housing in general. Finally, for new development, especially that which is in the outer regions of the GMA, I believe a closer look at the benefits of mixed-use development is warranted, as proximity of residential and commercial spaces both increases equity for individuals with transportation challenges and aligns with our climate action goals.

Would you vote to fully repeal U + 2? (Yes or no)

Yes.

Would you vote to expand U + 2 to Me + 3? (Yes or no)

Yes.

Would you support a “right size” housing policy that matches occupancy limits to number of bedrooms? (Yes or no)

Yes.

Would you support a rental registry program in Fort Collins? (Yes or no)

Yes.

For more on this candidate, you can visit their website here.

Methodology: A two question survey asking Fort Collins citizens which issues are important to them on the local level this upcoming cycle was shared on Fort Collins Reddit, in Fort Collins Craigslist, and with members of the Rocky Mountain Collegian & ASCSU for further dispersal. These avenues were chosen in an attempt to reach informed and engaged citizens of Fort Collins who might not be the ‘regular suspects’ who typically receive and respond to such surveys, but who nonetheless represent important and cross-sectional constituencies. Respondents could list multiple issues. No issues were prompted. There were 61 total responses to the survey. These questions are based on the seven issues citizens referenced most in the survey data, with issues referenced by three or more respondents chosen as question categories. Questions here are phrased in a way that most directly reflects the wording and perceived intent of survey respondents, while also pointing candidates toward revealing specific policy values. To see full responses, click here for the organized raw data.

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